GsoC Project Application: Integrate Geoclue with Gnome-desktop and to help with regulatory compliance

k roy kroykroy at
Tue Mar 31 08:49:06 PDT 2009


I am Kalpana Roy and I have submitted my project proposal under both Gnome
and the Linux Foundations. The details are as follows. Kindly review my GSoC
application and give comments so that I can improve it.

Thanking you,


Title:  Integrate Geoclue with Gnome-desktop and to help with regulatory
compliance   Student:  Kalpana Roy   Abstract:   The current project aims to
incorporate the location-awareness in the Gnome-desktop and utilise the same
to automatically update the linux kernel to set the country for the current
regulatory domain. It will comprise of 2 parts:
1.Integrating Clock & weather applet, Tracker, Evolution, Empathy and
Gwibber with automatic location sensitivity.
2.Extending Network Manager to seed to wpa_supplicant, the country which
should be set for the regulatory implementation, which in turn passes it to
the kernel.   Content:   What is the ultimate goal of your proposal? What do
you want to achieve?

The project plans to achieve the following two goals :


   incorporate the location-awareness in the Gnome-desktop by integrating
   the automatic location sensitivity into various Gnome-desktop applications,

   utilise the location-awareness to automatically update the linux kernel
   to set the country for the current regulatory domain.

The geographical information will be treated along the same lines as time
and hence automatic updation or manual modification of the location will be
as easy as changing time or date.
What components/modules will it touch/change or create?

In order to achieve the afore-mentioned goals, the project will utilise the
set of geoinformation APIs provided by GeoClue, and the providers which
implement these APIs. With the help of these, we will get position
information, get location coordinates through address (Geocode) and find
address with the help of location coordinates (Reverse Geocode).


   As the first step towards making the Gnome-desktop location aware, the
   following Gnome applications will be integrated with GeoClue services :
   Clock and weather applet, Tracker, Evolution, Empathy and Gwibber. (Although
   there are many other Gnome applications which can be integrated with
   GeoClue, but keeping the GSoC time frame in mind, the work is restricted to
   these applications only, for now. The other applications are planned to be
   added with location sensitivity feature, after successful completion of the
   proposed work). [Optional] Also, for the Internet-based applications, a map
   can be generated to view the location of the contacts in the visual format,
   using OpenStreetMap and libchamplain.

   The second part of the project will be implemented by extending Network
   Manager to make use of the information supplied by GeoClue to be able to
   seed the country which should be set for the current regulatory domain, to
   wpa_supplicant, which in turn passes the information to the linux-kernel.

What benefits does it have for GNOME and its community?

The project aims to make Gnome-desktop *smarter*, in the sense that it can
automatically sense/realise the location/place where its computer system is.
A computer system can automatically update its time, if the timezone is set.
Both geographical location as well as time, are informations which human
beings refer from their environment or context. This comes naturally to the
human beings and gives them the smartness or intelligence and the edge over
the computers. If a computer can infer its geographical location as well,
then it will be one step closer to being more human-like or achieving human
The following usecases will illustrate how the project proposal is
beneficial for Gnome  :


   The proposed functionality is new and not provided by any other desktop
   environment or operating system. Hence, Gnome will be more user-friendly by
   providing this one-of-a-kind functionality.

   Give the gnome users the ease of not manually changing the time and
   weather settings everytime they move from one place to another.

   Clock can not only automatically update the time & weather settings but
   also display the appointments/tasks specific to a location.

   The Tracker will index the files based not only on time but also on the
   basis of location of access/modification, then users can place queries in
   the form *"Show the files which I edited in Stockholm"*.

   Allow the users to set instant messaging availability status based on
   location (*"Set my work account as offline when I'm home"*).

   Make Gwibber send the current location of the user to microblogging
   services that support it (like brighkite).

 These are a few examples of how Gnome applications can serve users better,
if they are aware of their location. More importantly, this project will
make the Gnome desktop more *web-enabled*, when these days connectivity is
popular and wide-spread.

As stated above this project has two parts, and it will be done under the
co-mentorship of Gnome and Linux Foundations, both selected for GSoC '09.
The second part of the project focuses on the new regulatory implementation
for Linux wireless which features a new regulatory infrastructure starting
from the 2.6.28 kernel. Devices can specify their regulatory domain through
different interfaces and users can further help compliance by specifying
their country. So the best way of achieving this is , instead of users
having to manually supply the location, GeoClue services are utilised by
Network Manager which gets the country value and sends the ISO 3166-1
alpha-2 country code to the kernel via wpa_supplicant. Hence this automation
will help in maintaining the regulatory compliance with a greater ease.
Why you'd like to complete this particular project? If you have chosen an
idea from our list, why did you choose this specific idea? Why are you
interested in improving GNOME?

The project proposal is a combination of ideas listed by Gnome and Linux
Foundations for GSoC '09. Both the ideas listed the use of GeoClue/location
awareness and hence the ideas were combined. While scanning through the
ideas list of Gnome, I preferred to choose a project which would be suit my
technical knowledge and allow me to complete it successfully. The idea of
location awareness appealed to me the most and it also matched with my
technical knowledge and experience. I could immediately relate to the
various benefits that could be achieved if the desktop applications had
location awareness; the various small automations and ease which would be
supported through the project while working on mobile computer systems.

I chose to apply in GSoC so that I can get into FOSS development and not
just looking for a summer job opportunity. I own a laptop and have to travel
from my college to my home everyday and hence I could absolutely relate
myself to the benefits that would be achieved by making the Gnome desktop
location aware. The reason for choosing Gnome is very simple, I work on
Linux machines mostly and Gnome has been my desktop environment of choice
since I started using Linux, so I wanted to work on something which could be
ultimately used by me.
Another reason for choosing and sticking with this project were the
immediate and encouraging responses which I received on the mailing list and
IRC channel. GeoClue developers Jussi Kukkonen and Henri Bergius helped me
in developing the ideas list to what it is now and satisfing my queries.
They made me understand the depth of the work involved in the project and
not underestimate as building a "few patches for random applications". Luis
Rodriguez from Linux Foundations (who has very kindly agreed to co-mentor
this project, in case of being selected), made me aware about the idea of
integrating Geoclue to maintain the new regulatory compliance. This is how
the current project proposal came to be what it is now and combining the two
similar ideas has helped me to scale the work big enough to be completed in
the given time frame and also exciting enough to work on.

Why do you think you are the best person to work on this project? What makes
you suited to carry out the project?

I chose this project to apply for GSoC '09 for the reasons that, 1. I
possessed the basic technical knowledge which is required to be able to work
on it, 2. I found the idea extremely interesting, innovative and useful. The
idea gave me the vision to imagine the computers more knowledgable and
intelligent than before. I feel that it is very important to enjoy the
project that you are going to work on and I definitely feel excited about
this one. This project will satisfy both my hunger to contribute to
open-source as well as fulfill my creative aptitude. I am not a programmer
who sticks to traditional terms of ~6 hours of work a day; I can work
continuously for days if the work demands and is interesting and hence I
feel that I can contribute to this project a lot more than the others. I
plan to continue the work after GSoC ends as well. I guess having developed
the project to what it is now from the idea of the clock applet
automatically detecting timezone changes, shows my dedication to the project
and also the fact that I have done research about the same and contacted the
developers to let them know about my idea and my willingness to work and
make location-awareness a reality.
How much time do you plan to invest in the project before, during and after
the Summer of Code (We expect full time 40h/week during GSoC, but better
make this explicit)?

I plan to start working on the project from April itself and would spend the
month learning more about the technologies to be used. From May to August,
which will be the coding months, I can devote full time working on the
project as there are no prior committments which can take up my time. As
already stated, I am planning to include location senstivity to the Gnome
applications which will not be covered in the GSoC period so my committments
to this project stay even after GSoC. Also, I will look into
improving/alternate ways of passing the location information to kernel for
regualtory compliance after GSoC.
 How do you plan to achieve completion of your project?

I plan to complete the project by dividing the whole work into modules and
creating deadlines for their completion. The preliminary timeline includes :


   April : Study the source code and get familiar with the various
   technologies and applications to be used in the project (GeoClue, Clock
   and weather applet, Tracker, Evolution, Empathy, Gwibber, Network Manager).
   Write a patch for GeoClue to fix a bug OR to complete some of the TODOs
   listed. Learn more about the new regulatory infrastructure of the linux

   May - June : Create Geoclue patches for the gnome applications to enable
   location sensitivity. Starting with Clock (ensure timezone detection and
   change , weather change according to location, appointments/tasks display
   according to location), will move to the Internet based applications
   Gwibber, Evolution and Empathy to update them with location information, and
   then will add the functionality of indexing based on location to Tracker.
   [Optional] Also look into the generation of maps of the locality using
   OpenStreetMap and libchamplain for use along with the Internet based
   applications, depending on the time left.

 Plan to complete making Gnome-desktop location aware before mid-term


   July : Add the functionality of finding the country of location to
   Neetwork Manager and sending the code to Wi Fi protected acces supplicant to
   be sent to the kernel for implementing regulatory complaince.

   August : Integrating together all the functionalities developed and
   checking for loop-holes/glitches.

 What are your past experiences (if any) with the open source world?

I have been using free & open source softwares since the times I had a
personal computer but was introduced to contributing to FOSS, last year
through a successful GSoC '08 student. I understood and appreciated FOSS
movement since then and was willing to contribute to it. The projects which
I had worked on throught out my college life used open source technologies
although my first shot at *real* open source development was the developing
a GUI for VPython using PyGtk. I also submitted patches for additional
functionalities to an already existing VPython editor but the author had not
released/maintained the editor officially hence, I cannot claim that my work
was included in VPython officially. The desire to contribute to open-source
and finding ways of doing so are the sole reasons which have driven me to
GSoC and through the program I have finally known the ways of contributing
to FOSS.

My current project, which will finish by the end of April, is the use of
distributed fast fourier transform for writing fully distributed N-body code
for cosmological applications. It is also an open-source project which uses
C language, FFTW and MPI(Message Passing Interface) libraries and is useful
for astro-physics calculations.
Please attach a link to a bug ( or other Free softw are
tracker) containing a patch you've written.

None, till the time of documentation of this application.

Biography :

I am Kalpana Roy, a final year student at Indian Institute of Information
Technology, Allahabad, India, pursuing my B.Tech (I.T.) degree. After being
a FOSS user for a long time, I have come to appreciate the FOSS movement and
want to contribute to its development. Google Summer of Code is the first
official step towards it and I am extremely enthusiastic and motivated to
participate. I usually code in C++ and am familiar with C, Java, PHP, MySql,
Python (mostly VPython & PyGtk) and Bash. Some of my major projects include
creating an FTP server searcher, ICE - Integrated Conference Environment
(software similar to OpnConf), Document Similarity Analyser, VPython
GUI/Editor and Using distributed systems for generating N-body codes. Though
I have always used open source softwares and developed open source
softwares, I have never been involved in contribution to already existing
open source organisations and programs and hence I am looking forward to do
so through GSoC '09.
I am among the toppers of my batch and regular recepient of college
scholarships. I was associated with the STL (Standard Template Library)
teaching group of my college and was also the team leader of the college
team participating in Google Got the 'App'titude Challenge. My
extracurricular interests include solving online riddles, for which I have
won many college level competitions, watching animes and reading mangas. I
have been placed in Adobe Systems, India which I will be joining after the
completion of my B.Tech course, later this year. I want to start and
continue contributing to FOSS and spread the word around to motivate more
people like me who had always harbored a wish to contribute but never knew
  Additional info:

~ Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned
skyward, for there you have been, there you long to return --Da Vinci
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